Frogwares have certainly kept themselves busy with the Sherlock Holmes licence as of late, firstly with their latest title Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One (which explored the origins of the famous sleuth – check out our review here) and also with the recent re-release of 2014’s Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments on the Nintendo Switch. Both were enjoyable games, with the latter proving to be an especially impressive port on Nintendo’s portable console, and it’s been fun to solve cases with the enigmatic detective.
It came as no surprise then that they also decided to bring 2016’s Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter to the Nintendo Switch, with the team having a quick turn-around with the release. I’m happy to report that it’s also an impressive port, even if the game does have a few hiccups here and there.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter sends players on five unique cases that are all part of an overarching storyline related to Sherlock’s ‘adopted’ daughter. It’s an interesting premise, especially given that Sherlock didn’t have a daughter in any of the books, though it does show a more caring side to the character. Everything ties together well by the end and it’s great to explore the father-daughter relationship that Sherlock shares with Kate – including all of the ups-and-downs that it brings…
Whilst the cases do tie-in together by the end, they all feature a different story that feels unique in their own way. One moment you may be indulging in a game of bowls, another time you may be looking for a missing man. On another occasion you might be getting pursued by a psychopath huntsman in a forest, whilst you’ll even get to explore some Mayan Ruins (in some shape or form anyway).
Each case lasts around two hours each and offers a satisfying conclusion. By the time you reach the end of a case you’d have established a set of clues that help you determine the outcome, with each potential conclusion also swayed around a morale choice. It’s a neat interaction that actually makes it feel like YOU solved the case, even if it is possible to get the outcome completely wrong in the end. We can’t all be genius sleuths, right?
“Whenever you meet an important character, you’re able to assess their characteristics; this means looking for every minor detail that might teach you about their well-being, state of mind, or even give you a clue about something they might have done.”
You won’t just get to play as Sherlock Holmes on each case though – you’ll also be calling upon the help of Sherlock’s loyal friend Dr. Watson, his street-lurking helper Higgins, and even his scent-chasing canine companion Toby. Each character plays completely differently to one another, which diversifies the gameplay experience and adds additional elements to the puzzle-solving. It’s a cool concept that shows that even the great Sherlock Holmes needs help on occasions.
For the most part though you’ll be playing as Sherlock Holmes, so it’s a good job that the game makes playing as the detective feel immersive and enjoyable. Whenever you meet an important character, you’re able to assess their characteristics; this means looking for every minor detail that might teach you about their well-being, state of mind, or even give you a clue about something they might have done. It’s a neat gameplay mechanic, but it’s also a trait that has been synonymous with Sherlock Holmes ever since his first portrayal in Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels.
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter also features some Arkham-esque detective modes that don’t only allow Sherlock to identify key objects in the environment, but also allow him to use his imagination to envision items or events that occurred. It works really well in-game and, again, makes you actually feel like you’re deeply involved in unravelling the case. Some developers have a difficult time making you feel CLEVER in a video game, but Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter never failed to succeed.
“You won’t just get to play as Sherlock Holmes on each case though – you’ll also be calling upon the help of Sherlock’s loyal friend Dr. Watson, his street-lurking helper Higgins, and even his scent-chasing canine companion Toby.“
You’ll also be able to use Sherlock’s famous sense of deduction as you link up each clue you find and try to figure out how exactly they connect to the case. It reminded me of the ‘Mind Palace’ scenes in the Sherlock TV show – there’ll be a series of words that can tie together, bringing with them some truth behind each situation. It’s an interesting dynamic that works quite well, though I will admit there were times where I simply matched every word together and hoped for the best.
Sometimes, you’ll have to cross-reference the evidence you find with Sherlock’s archives, an extensive library of information that cover a wide range of subjects. Admittedly, it can be a bit of a pain to work through; whilst everything is split up into different categories, it isn’t always entirely obvious which one you need to study and it could feel like I was grasping at straws at times. It’s nice to be thorough with your detective work, but sometimes the game expects players to be TOO thorough.
It’s not all sleuth work in Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter. There are plenty of action scenes with characters partaking in pursuits, sneaking, climbing, distracting, an intense game of bowls… you get the picture. Most of the action scenes play out with QTEs and mini-games, with each managing to break the gameplay up from the typical mystery solving. A lot of the gameplay mechanics of the action scenes are utilised repetitively, though the context in which they are used is varied enough to keep them entertaining throughout each of the game’s cases.
“I’ve played plenty of similar titles on the Switch that have been half-baked ports with blurry low-res environments to explore or that run with a shoddy frame rate, but Frogwares have genuinely delivered a game that looks good and runs well on the platform.”
Both the detective and action sections of Sherlock Holmes: The Devils Daughter are fun to experience, with the entertaining gameplay mechanics doing more than enough to keep players hooked into the game. The Nintendo Switch port is especially impressive too, with the world itself packed with detail and offering an immersive interpretation of Victorian London. I’ve played plenty of similar titles on the Switch that have been half-baked ports with blurry low-res environments to explore or that run with a shoddy frame rate, but Frogwares have genuinely delivered a game that looks good and runs well on the platform. Sure, you’ll lose a little bit of graphical detail here and there and there were some sketchy looking moments throughout my playtime, but it’s otherwise one of the more impressive ports I’ve played on the platform.
It’s not PERFECT, though. The load times were EXCEPTIONALLY lengthy (sometimes to the point of frustration) for example. I also had the game soft-lock on me on a couple occasions, whilst I also found myself unable to interact with a character (which required a quick restart of the game to fix). In fairness, there was nothing game-breaking, but the issues were a bit annoying and did stand out.
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter Review
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter offers another intriguingly fun mystery for Switch-owning wannabe sleuths to solve. The puzzling feels great thanks to the intuitive gameplay mechanics that actually make you feel like the great detective himself, whilst the varied action segments offer a neat (though sometimes repetitive) way to give your mind a rest.
It’s an impressive port of a thoroughly enjoyable game, and whilst it does have some hiccups, Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is certainly worth playing if you want to dive deep into some engrossing Victorian mysteries. Just be warned: the load times are LONG, so make sure you keep your phone handy to occupy yourself whilst you wait.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC